Friday, December 5, 2014

Surviving Workplace Abuse: More Lies

I've written earlier about the place of "lies" - those things we, the targets, internalize - in both our experience in the workplace and also in our recovery.  Or rather in retarding our recovery.

I wrote earlier this eyar about the biggest lie I internalized - "perceptions" and "assumption" - and how it took a long time and a lot of work to realize those two words for what they were - lies - and then to work through them so that I no longer believed that the very way I was wired i.e. the way I thought and perceived life, was wrong.

Since I wrote that post, other lies have come up.  I mentioned one briefly in the story about the bullying (elderly) passenger on the bus the other week.  The man who demanded a seat by glaring and then started pushing and shoving me into the wall because he felt I didn't give him enough room.  No words were spoken, initially, but when it got to the pushing and shoving stage, believe me, words were spoken.  Loudly.

It was through the subsequent processing of that experience that I realized another lie I'd internalized from both of my workplace bullying experiences:  the lie that being loud is wrong.  Another lie is that standing my ground is automatically "confrontative" and, therefore, also very wrong.  In that incident, I'd done both and was condemning myself because of the lies I'd internalized.

In that post, I wrote about the power of affirmation in realizing those two lies and putting them where they belonged - in the trash - after talking with both a friend and someone at the regional transit centre.  Both felt I'd handled the situation well - even though it did become a verbal confrontation.  The transit representative took it a bit further and said that she was glad that I hadn't given in to this bully and gotten up and given him the entire seat - which was probably what he wanted.  We're guessing that he had probably gotten his way before by using these tactics.  About the verbal confrontation, she didn't seem to see it as a problem and commented that it wasn't a physical confrontation which would have been a problem.

This man was one experience in a lifetime of experiences.  One encounter, one time on one bus in a lifetime of riding buses.  (concept taken from Jan Silvious's book Look At It This Way.)

Because it is one experience in a lifetime of experiences - and a brief one at that, it is easier to put this one to rest - and get on with not only my life, but my journey towards recovery.  Even using it as a piece of the recovery.

Over the past summer another lie which I've internalized over the years raised its ugly head.  The lie that I'm. Not. Good. Enough.

The question:  Not good enough for what?

The answer:  not good enough for whoever the person is in the given situation.

And then I realized that that person is often myself.  I'm not good enough for me.

I struggle with self esteem - and have from an early age.  Even though there's been a significant amount of recovery in the journey over the years, my self-esteem seems to be as shaky as unset jello.  I seem to need constant affirmation that I am OK.  That I am worthwhile.  That I do have value.  That I am good enough.

This is a very hard lie to shake.  And one, frankly, that I am still working on because it is a deep-rooted lie based on self-esteem.

This lie rears it's ugly head many times, in many ways, as I walk through my normal routine of daily living.  It's only been recently that I've begun to recognize it for what it is.  Now to work on the why and how to get rid of it.

This lie shows up in everything I do:  my writing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, photography.  You name it, it's there.  Especially if I make a mistake - or fail to reach someone's marker.  I feel like no matter how good I am at what I do there's always someone better.

But then is that a liability?  If there's someone better, I can perhaps get advice/mentoring from them.

The reverse is also true:  there's usually someone who looks up to me as really skilled at the things I do and comes to me for advice.  On knitting and crocheting.  Etc.

I think the big problem is not that others are setting the banner too high for me but that I am setting the banner too high for myself.

I want everything I do to be perfect - and it's not.

You may have heard that when the artisans make a Persian rug, they purposefully put in a mistake because only God is perfect.  Well, I don't have to purposefully put in a mistake.  It happens naturally with me.  And it causes me to realize that I'm not perfect.  Only God is perfect.  And then it becomes OK.


You're probably wondering what the two pictures above, one of a crocheted stocking in progress and one of the chart I'm attempting to follow, have to do with this post about the lie of not being good enough.

Yet, I'm so tough on myself that this is a good example.  I've had a lot of trouble reading the chart probably because of the ongoing problems with my cognitive skills.  I've crocheted, counted, ripped out, crocheted again, counted again, ripped out again sometimes once, sometimes twice before I finally figure out where the mistake is.  I've put it down a good many times, rested my poor brain (and my eyes), and then picked it up again.  Because one thing I'm not is a quitter.  That's one lie I don't have in my subconscious.

Because I set the banner so high - as in nothing less than perfection will do,  I see - and magnify in my mind - all the imperfections I see:  for one the design lists to the left.  But in the scheme of things will the seven/eight month old who receives it really care?  As he grows older, will he notice the imperfections or look at it as a treasured part of his Christmas tradition beginning at his first Christmas ever?

I choose to believe the latter.  Therefore, as soon as I publish this post, I will pick up the hook and the stocking and restart again.

Until tomorrow....

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